Background Note | HBS Case Collection | January 2004

Why Developers Don't Understand Why Consumers Don't Buy

by John T. Gourville


Looks at the psychological biases developers bring to the new product development process. Identifies three reasons why developers may do a poor job of identifying the demand for an innovative, new concept or product: (1) the self-selection bias, (2) differing initial endowments, and (3) the curse of knowledge. In the end, a developer's inability to understand the consumer's perspective can lead to unrealistic expectations for product adoption.

Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships; Innovation and Invention; Knowledge Management; Product Marketing; Consumer Behavior; Product Development; Perspective; Prejudice and Bias;


Gourville, John T. "Why Developers Don't Understand Why Consumers Don't Buy." Harvard Business School Background Note 504-068, January 2004.